This play centers on Constance Ledbelley, an academic at Queen's University who has been plugging away at her thesis. Her thesis is that Othello and Romeo and Juliet were originally comedies that Shakespeare turned into tragedies through the removal of the Wise Fool. As she explains in Act I, Scene 1:
"What if a Fool were to enter the worlds of both Othello and Romeo and Juliet? Would he be akin to the Wise Fool in King Lear? A Fool who can comfort and comment but who cannot alter the state of the tragic heroes? Or would our Fool defuse the tragedies by assuming center stage as comic hero? Indeed, in Romeo and Juliet, the Fool is conspicuous by his very absence, for these two tragedies hinge on flimsy mistakes—a lost handkerchief, a delayed wedding announcement—mistakes easily concocted and corrected by a Wise Fool."
She gets the chance to unknowingly test her theory when, after the arrogant and pompous Prof. Claude Night shatters all of her hopes and dreams, she falls into both of these plays and is able to search out the Fool and the author to make them cough up their secrets. She yanks the handkerchief out of Iago's pocket just as Othello is about to commit to the murder of his wife and then tackles Tybalt and Mercutio, announcing that Romeo and Juliet have just wed.
Desdemona turns out to be a bloodthirsty warrior who married Othello because she loved to hear him talk of war. When Constance foils the plot against her, Iago begins to turn Desdemona against Constance using the very same ploys he used with Othello. Desdemona is first passionately Constance's sister, then becomes just as easily swayed to be her sworn enemy.
In Verona, Constance is mistaken for a boy (Desdemona had ripped her skirt off during a sword fight, leaving her in her long johns) and both Romeo and Juliet proceed to fall in love with the new “boy.” When they each think that “Constantine” is attracted to the other, Romeo dresses in Juliet's clothes and Juliet in Romeo's clothes to further their wooing. Nor is Juliet swayed in her passion when Constance reveals herself as a woman.
This report prepared by Bridgette Redman
Billy Jim on 4/15/2014 10:26:13 AM says: I enjoyed the turtle scene. I can honestly say, I lold.